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Hans F. Hansen

Staff retention

Thanks, as always, for the feedback on this four part series; today’s post is the last step in the process – Staff Retention.

Everyone knows that it is much more cost-efficient to keep staff than it is to keep recruiting new ones.  Now clearly we have to recruit some new staff, as people leave for all sorts of reasons.  However, if you have not joined us for Lead to Succeed, the figures that are shared at the beginning of the Supervision module are insightful – more of which later….

I want to look at retention from a few different points of view today; that of new staff, the perspective of existing staff and the manager’s/leader’s perspective.

New Staff

Firstly, think back to all the suggestions we have shared in the previous three posts in this series.  When recruiting new staff, enable them to complete learning whilst you are waiting for the DBS checks, buddy them up with an experienced mentor and generally invest time and effort to make their induction experience as interesting and stimulating as possible, and so on.

So, what else can we do to retain our new staff?  Well, it does not always mean spending more money.  Those figures I mentioned earlier in the Supervision module look like this:

  • 29% of people leave their jobs because of low pay
  • 60% of people leave their jobs because they feel under-valued

People leave their jobs when they don’t get regular supervision (see this recent CIPD research, which found that people leave their manager).  Double the number of people leave their jobs because they felt like they had gone above and beyond and no-one noticed or even said thank you, you get my drift…

So, how much does supervision cost?  Other than your time and the staff member’s time and maybe even a cup of tea and biscuit, the costs are pretty small – but the impact is huge!  I have spoken to many leaders and managers during recent Lead to Succeed sessions, in particular Module three (Supervision), and they have described being in touch with their staff much more regularly because of COVID-19 and partly because they can’t always get together face-to-face.  The result?  Even though circumstances are possibly as challenging as they have EVER been, staff are pulling together, working together, going above and beyond and talking to their manager regularly.  I think that is a great way to retain staff and what a COVID “silver lining”.

IF we are going to spend all our time and effort getting people through the door for interviews and inductions, then let’s spend the same amount of time hanging on to them once they are with us.

Existing Staff

How many times have you been on Moving and Handling training?  I delivered a workshop once and someone in the room had been every year (without fail) for 34 years in a row!  Is the 35th time really going to add to the person’s knowledge skills and impact on their practice?  Well that person said, on the 34th session she had to have a word with the trainer at the break because their info was out of date!  But we NEED those certificates!

Certificates – do we really need them?

Let’s look at my example above, we have an existing member of staff, with lots of experience, knowledge and skills.  Most likely, they apply their knowledge and skills daily with the people they support.  With that level of experience, they probably are supporting new staff and mentoring them through their induction.  So what happens when their “refresher” is due?

Did all of their years of knowledge, skills, experience and practice suddenly leak out of their ears on the 12 month anniversary?  NO, of course not!  BUT, but they are out of date, we need the certificate, I hear you cry!  We will come back to that in a second…

Let’s look at the impact on that experienced member of staff.  They most likely dread the 12 month refresher; they go to the same location, they potentially complete the same training, just so they can get the certificate – even if they do know more than the trainer… How does that member of staff feel?  Demotivated?  Disappointed that they have to spend a day away from the people they support?  I have met thousands of care workers over the years who would much rather be with the people they support than stuck in a training room.

So, what is it we really need? 

What we do not need is to demotivate an experienced member of the team; what we do need is evidence that they are safe to practice (so we can demonstrate to CQC).  Are there other ways to collect the evidence we need?  Of course, we have been supporting our customers to do exactly that since 2006!

However, the impact of doing it differently is valuing that member of staff and their knowledge and skills. 

Remember those figures earlier?  Twice as many people leave their jobs because they don’t feel valued.  Repeating a training course year in, year out; does that really show an experienced member of the team how valuable they are?  

What about the managers?  Well, you get caught in the middle, trying to balance the need of the business, with what CQC wants and keeping staff happy as well, which is no mean feat.  

Some time ago now, we tested what I have described above with one of our Local Authority customers over a six month period and they cut staff turnover in half.  What would a 50% reduction in staff turnover save your business?

So, to finish off, find ways to value staff (new and existing); don’t demotivate them and remember to let them know that you know what an amazing job they are doing, every single day, in extreme circumstances.

It’s time to celebrate digital social care!

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